Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Competitor Magazine Best of 2009

Competitor Magazine (formerly City Sports Magazine) finally brought back the Best Bike Club category in their 2009 Best of Competitor survey. It's been missing since 2006. Velo Girls won in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005. Can we do it again?

Clickity-click the link and vote, and while you're at it, vote for our sponsors, too: Best Bike Shop (Mike's Bikes), Best Energy Drink (GU Brew), Best Energy Food (GU Chomps), Best Sports Medicine (Discover Chiropractic). And don't forget to vote for our race, the Menlo Park Grand Prix, as the Best Bike Event!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Voting for the Sweet Life!

Dolce Vita Cycling is pleased to endorse Lorri Lown and Michael Hernandez for NCNCA President and Vice-President.

Lorri is a true advocate of women's cycling and has been instrumental in introducing hundreds of women to the sport. We feel Lorri has consistently shown true leadership qualities and her ability to lead an organization through her continued success with Velo Girls, her varied and well attended skills clinics, and her continued efforts to continually improve herself and others through cycling.

Similarly, Michael has distinguished himself with his endless enthusiasm for all racers, regardless of skill level or category. We feel Michael's involvement announcing at races and in a leadership role at Hellyer illustrate his willingness to serve as a voice in spearheading racing and development opportunities for a broad range of cyclists, whether they be juniors, track riders, or pros.

Together Lorri and Michael speak to the same philosophies of development and camaraderie that our team aspires to, and we'd be honored to have their voices represent us.

Thank you, Dolce Vita Cycling, for your vote of confidence!

Monday, October 26, 2009

the plumber has leaky pipes

those who've been following my life on Twitter or Facebook are aware that I've been really focused on improving my health + fitness for the past few months. 2008 and 2009 were filled with lots of things that got in the way of my training -- managing a rapidly-growing business along with some health issues to name just a couple of them. but now, I'm back and training with a vengeance and ready to race full-time in 2010.

one of my priorities in making this decision was to hire a coach -- a partner with whom I could plan and execute the training necessary to get me back into fighting shape. I haven't had a coach since 2004, and one of my biggest hesitations was the fact that I couldn't find a local coach with whom I really wanted to work. don't get me wrong, there are so many great coaches in Northern California, but I was looking for someone special -- someone I could really connect with. when I inquired with my current coach about her interest in coaching me, her response was "I would be honored to coach you, Lorri." that's all I needed to hear.

you might wonder why a cycling coach needs a cycling coach, but the reason is pretty simple -- I'm not able to make myself or my training a priority without having someone to be accountable to. yeah, I could write my own training program (I have in the past). but what I was really looking for was someone to view me with fresh, unbiased eyes, to hold me accountable for my training, to give me tough love when required, and encouragement when needed, and to inspire me to greatness.

the proverbial plumber had leaky pipes. so I hired another plumber to fix the problem for me.

the road is just beginning. I hit an all-time high body weight in June (thanks in great part of a terrible prescription drug I was taking). I was riding less in a month than I used to ride in a week. and my body just fought me every step of the way. when I did ride, it was pretty miserable and I'd be completely exhausted for days afterward. something had to happen or I was going to have to change careers. not to mention that my true passion -- riding my bikes -- just wasn't fun for me anymore.

so, I quit taking the drug and started focusing on weight loss. I've gone through two other periods of significant weight loss in the past decade, and I knew exactly what I had to do. I started keeping my journal again and monitored every calorie in and every calorie out. to date, I've lost almost 30 pounds, and while I've still got about 25 more to lose, I feel better everyday and I know I'll hit my weight loss goal by the start of the 2010 racing season.

in August, I went back on a training program (with my new coach), and the progress has been remarkable. my weight is down, my power is up, and that means just one thing -- free speed! I'm nowhere near race fitness at this point, but I'm able to ride and recover and I look forward to conquering all my favorite climbs before year-end.

so, there it is! I've got big racing goals for next year and I'm very excited to feel that they'll be attainable. four months ago I was ready to give up the bike forever, but instead, I've been able to turn my life around and enjoy the process of getting leaner and stronger and fitter and faster everyday!

Friday, October 23, 2009

This just in! Bike Skills 101 added on November 15th

I guess clinic season never really ends in California. This past weekend I coached our last two clinics of the season: sold out Bike Skills 101 (bike handling fundamentals) and Bike Skills 201 (climbing + descending). 2009 has been our most successful clinic season ever -- with more than 800 participants in all of our various clinics. Of those, about 200 cyclists participated in 8 different Bike Skills 101 clinics -- all of them sold out!

My inbox is overflowing with requests to add just one more clinic this season, so we've added Bike Skills 101(sponsored by onto the calendar for November 15th.

Registration is now open:

This is a co-ed clinic and runs from 9:00am - 1:00pm in Redwood City.

Bike Skills 101 is a fundamental skills course -- a must-do for anyone who rides a bike. Whether you're new to riding or you're an experienced cyclist, I guarantee that we can help you become more skilled and more confident in your riding. USA Cycling upgrade points are available for those of you who are racing (or interested in racing).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why I REALLY want to be President of the NCNCA

Everybody knows that The President gets to do some really cool things. And gets some neet new toys. The perks are endless (or so I've been told). So here are the reasons I REALLY wnat to be President of the NCNCA.

1) someone recently said that I've got big shoes to fill and that I get to wear size 99 shoes. since your feet are the lever on the bike, the bigger the better, right? I'm just a little worried about toe-overlap.

2) The President always gets mysterious-looking (yet handsome) body guards. what girl wouldn't want to surround herself with mysterious + handsome men?

3) The President is a diplomat and gets to travel to exotic and distant lands. I see trips to Copperopolis, Weed, Snelling, Bakersfield, Challenge, and maybe even Henleyville in my future! who needs to be a world traveller when the best of the best is right here in rural CA thanks to Velo Promo?

4) The President (or is it the First Lady) always redecorates the White House. I think this means I'll have to finish re-painting my condo before taking office in January!

5) everybody makes fun of The President. I foresee a media whirlwind of cartoons, p-shopped photos, and essays poking fun at my dog, my bikes, and my hairstyle. kinda like high school but on a global level. maybe I'll even get an invitation to host SNL!

6) people give The President free stuff! I can't wait to get a chicken from the cluckers' council, a happy cow from the moo brigade, and an avocado tree from the pit plants coalition.

7) everybody celebrates The President's birthday! I love birthdays and next year will be a special one for me, so mark July 29th on your calendar as a presidential day of wanton recklessness.

8) The President gets chauffeured around in a big shiny black car. I already have a 10-year old black (not-so-shiny) Subaru with dings + scratches from bikes leaning on it, so all I need now is a driver. some might agree that the way I drive, that would be a good thing.

9) The President gets to wear a big sparkly crown for formal occasions (oh yeah, maybe that's the king). I have a closet full of tiaras just waiting for the right opportunity to be worn! don't be surprised if you see me wearing one at the NCNCA meeting, the NorCal Cyclefest, or the SFBC Winter Party.

10) legions of heralding trumpets and firing muskets greet The President wherever he goes. after years as the drum major of my high school marching band, I can't wait to stand in front of the celebratory ranks again!

in all seriousness, I look forward to the challenge of serving the NCNCA as The President in 2010. you can read my candidate's statement, as well as those of the other candidates, here:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Velo Girls are Cross-crazy!

photo courtesy of Lauren Haughey

Team Velo Girls member, Jenny Feix, has been racing cross since 2003 and this year seems to be her year if early results are any indicator. In three races she's scored two wins and a 4th place and she's just getting warmed up for a HOT season of mud, sweat, and tears.

Here's a quickie from Jenny about her first win of the season at the LARPD series:

First race of the season for me. The course is perfect for this, flat, grass, and some duffy sandy areas mixed in and even a little gravel in spots. Two barriers to jump, and two logs to get over. I had an OK start, but a few A women got away fast and I didn't see them again. I stayed with a group of four women from the fist lap on, one of the gals (Velo Bella) took a spill in the gravel, so that left just three of us pushing each other toward the finish. Great competition. We all stayed together till the finish. LARPD offered me a good start to cyclocross season.

Team Velo Girls will be out to play again this Sunday, October 25th at the second race of the Bay Area Super Prestige Series at Coyote Point in San Mateo. Come cheer the Gnat and Mariska and the other C Women @ 8:30am, then stop by the Velo Girls tent for fun + frolic while we ring some cowbell for the hot boys in spandex. The main event for the women is at 12:00 and Jenny will test her mettle against a large, strong field.

It's not the off's the cross season!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Candidate Statement -- 2010 NCNCA President

I’m honored to be running for President of the NCNCA for 2010. My three years' experience on the BOD as Treasurer, as well as my management background, experience in not-for-profit, and my involvement with other Boards, are a solid fit for the position.

Since the NCNCA is a working Board, I think it's important for the next president to have previous hands-on management experience with the BOD.

In my tenure as Treasurer, I've made positive and valuable contributions to the NCNCA. I made it a priority to implement financial controls to strengthen the organization. During my tenure, we’ve had a budget surplus each year and been able to invest $85,000 during my first two terms into a reserve fund to be used for special projects such as equipment purchase and a new electronic timing system. I’ve formalized the financial reporting system and have provided the BOD with timely and thorough financial reports each month. In addition to my duties as Treasurer, I’ve been an active board member and instrumental in decision-making throughout my terms. I’m currently coordinating the Electronic Timing System Work Group and was instrumental in formalizing the election process for the 2010 NCNCA Officer Elections (no more drawing straws around the BOD table). I have actively solicited quality candidates for all positions who I feel will make a great impact on the management of the NCNCA in future years.

To many, I might seem focused on women's issues. However, I’m very unbiased about all areas of racing -- as a race promoter (Menlo Park Grand Prix), racer (road, cyclocross, mountain), coach, official, general busy-body, and as someone actively involved in the non-racing bike community as well. I have a positive relationship with USAC and have been involved with a number of USAC and other national task forces and committees.

I’ve worked in the cycling industry since 2001, as an independent coach, business owner, bike shop employee, and as a contract instructor for fitness facilities and corporate wellness programs. I’m well-connected in the cycling industry on a local, national, and international level. In my own business, I’ve developed programs that have been recognized as the gold standard in the cycling industry.

I received a BFA in Theatre Arts Management from Ithaca College, and spent the first 13 years of my career managing not-for-profit theatres. My focus was business management (accounting, finance, HR, risk management, and employee benefits). As an employee in not-for-profit, however, I was able to gain management experience in other areas as well, such as marketing, development, and operations.

I hold an MBA in Organizational Management/Gender Relations from Syracuse University. After my theatre career, I spent the next three years in management at a software start-up and at Charles Schwab, where I managed technology projects.

I received a CA Certificate in Personal Fitness Training from Foothill College (a 30-credit certificate program) and have participated in countless hours of continuing education from USAC, USAT, and other educational organizations.

My goal as President is to be an empowering leader and to enable the BOD to best serve the membership of the NCNCA. I plan to utilize technology to improve communication and continue to develop programs that will benefit membership.

Lorri Lee Lown
founder + coach, Velo Girls
USAC Club of the Year: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008

Monday, October 19, 2009

October Rider of the Month -- Jackie Link

Jackie is known by her friends and fellow cyclists to always bring a smile wherever she goes. This was evident even thirty years ago when she was in a sailing accident that crushed her knee, turned it into something good, and used cycling to recover. Since that time not only has she ridden for her own physical and mental health, but she has dedicated herself to helping other women get outside and on their bikes.

Jackie joined Velo Girls in 2003 and became a member of Team Velo Girls in 2006. As part of the Endurance Team she has dedicated hours of her time to women ever since. She has started and led four different rides to help women start riding and meet others. She understands that women will continue cycling if they have others to ride with and she has made it her personal mission to offer as many rides as possible. Many women in Northern CA, including some of the area's finest racers, credit Jackie with helping them learn to ride a bike and develop a love of cycling.

Jackie is retiring from the team this year, but trust us that is not because of a lack of energy! We want to thank her for her dedication, commitment, and unselfishness.

Favorite Ride: My ramble around the entire city---around the bay waterfront, through the Presidio and around Land's End, down Ocean Beach, over Twin Peaks and through the Mission to my home on top of Potrero Hill. It's about 30-35 miles and there's always a surprise somewhere along the way.

Why I Ride: Because no matter what else is happening in the world, when I put my foot on the pedal and push off, I'm very, very happy.

Most memorable Velo Girls moment(s): Whenever a beginning rider comes up to me, sometimes years later, to tell me how much it meant to her that I'd helped her when she first started riding. Some have gone on to race, others to complete ALC and century rides.

A Bit About Me: I took up cycling after having a knee crushed in a sailing accident in 1980, and it's opened up the world for me. I've taken a bike to explore Holland, France, Denmark, Portugal, Japan (including up Mt. Fuji!), Arizona and countless trips along our coastline from Seattle to San Diego.

Favorite Quote: Years ago, on a Northern Exposure ride with over 30 riders, one woman said to me, "I like your style, you don't mind leading from the back!"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

October Sponsor of the Month -- Action Wipes!

One of our new sponsors in 2009 is Action Wipes. How could we not fall in love with a product with the tag-line "your face is not a baby's butt -- don't wipe it like one?"

Lorri met Martha Van Inwegen, founder and creator of Action Wipes, on Twitter of all places, but it's indicative of the spirit behind the product. New to Twitter (and not exactly sure what to do with it), Lorri found that someone named MarthaVan was following her. With a little research, Lorri learned that Martha owned a local, California company called Life Elements. Like most cyclists, Lorri should own stock in baby wipes (handy for cleaning both bike and body after a ride). And with the Velo Girls goal of aligning ourselves with local, California sponsors, Lorri decided to learn more about the company.

Our relationship has been a match made in heaven! Martha has been a great supporter of Velo Girls this year and we've been signing the praises of Action Wipes ever since!

What's so great about Action Wipes (besides an awesome product)? Martha Van, is, that's what! She's a fun + fabulous woman with a very progressive, guerilla marketing strategy (just like Velo Girls). She's a social media maven and has run marketing campaigns via Twitter and Facebook aimed at introducing Lance Armstrong to her product (@LanceArmstrong, you should be using Action Wipes) -- a very cool photo campaign featuring cycling super-stars big and small with a newsprint poster harolding that tag-line. Although she claims she's not an athlete, she's immersed herself into the global cycling community in a way that the big, corporate brands could only dream of doing.

Martha was host to the team when we raced in San Luis Obispo this summer, and she told the girls the following story, illustrating her entreprenurial spirit, creativity, and desire to succeed:

Life Elements was the parent company to C+M Couples (C = her husband Curt and M = Martha). C+M Couples is a line of seductive and sassy personal care products targeted to the spa market. When the economy took a dive it affected the spa market (and her business). So, she met with a marketing guru who helped her re-define her product line, now targeted at the active lifestyle market. So she re-labeled all her products in her home office, creating the product we all know as Action Wipes.

When life gave her lemons, Martha made lemonade....and Action Wipes!

Thank you, Martha, for your friendship and support this season!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Tribe Has Spoken!

So, after three years of serving the Northern California Nevada Cycling Association (NCNCA) as Treasurer of the Board of Directors, I'm throwing my hat into the ring to run for President. The current President, Casey Kerrigan, has been an integral part of the NCNCA leadership team for decades, so these are some big shoes to fill, but I'm confident that I can continue to make a positive impact on bicycle racing in our district.

Elections take place later this month. I was thrilled to receive this endorsement from the Bay Area Women's Cycling Association.

Bay Area Women's Cycling is pleased to officially endorse Lorri Lee Lown and Michael Hernandez as candidates for President and Vice President of the NCNCA in 2010. Over many years, Lorri and Michael have shown their dedication to improving our local cycling community, in particular by increasing opportunities for women and juniors. Both have also been instrumental in mentoring, & educating beginning cyclists as they become racers.

In addition to their advocacy, Lorri and Michael have significant experience as officers in a cycling-related organization. Lorri has served as Treasurer of the NCNCA for several years, and Michael has served on the Board of Directors for the Northern California Velodrome Association. We believe that Lorri and Michael are the best candidates to be President and Vice-President of the NCNCA.

Voting is scheduled to take place online starting (October 20th and concluding on) November 2, 2009. NCNCA member clubs are allowed one vote per available office (to be provided by a delegate on behalf of each club). Please spread the word about the election, and encourage your club delegates to vote for Lorri and Michael.

Thanks, women of the NCNCA, for your vote of confidence!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Victory for Masters Women!

We voted on a proposal tonight to re-instate the masters women to the NCNCA BAR/BAT for 2010. Thank you to all the women who sent feedback and responded to our survey. 76 women responded to the survey -- 17% of all masters women. that's a great response in the survey world.

We voted to include W1/2/3 35+ in the 2010 BAR/BAT. We'll start chatting with promoters soon to ask them to include this field in their 2010 races.

We're still thinking about the W4 Masters. The overwhelming response from our survey was to include a W4 40+ category for 2010 (which could easily be combined with an existing W4 field in a criterium or added to a race-day for a road race). The numbers of CAT4 women support this so I'm sure we'd have a great turn-out if promoters are willing to add this field. I'll run a follow-up poll to see what everyone thinks and/or feel free to post your feedback on the forum.

Again, thanks to everyone for rallying for the masters women!